After spending time drawing from photographs, it’s refreshing to get back to drawing from life again. Frustrating too of course, because Harvey the border terrier wouldn’t settle for long, however I think that attempting to piece together several poses gives more of an impression of the character of the real, live animal than a carefully studied photograph can.
This small, delicate-looking fungus was growing under deciduous trees, on a sparsely grassy verge by the track around the lake at Newmillerdam Country Park. They remind me of the little folded-paper parasols used to decorate a cocktail but this isn’t the parasol mushroom.
The caps in the background appear to be the older ones and, like the inkcap that I drew the other day, they are turning black around the gills, although I suspect that these aren’t closely related.
It might be a species of Mycena.
The young wild boar is learning fast, perfecting its ability to turn up in the wrong place and cause a bit of a stir amongst the herd. It’s a wild boar’s survival strategy to push its snout into everything, so this is good practice.
I would have assumed that the big male boar would be in charge of the herd but he doesn’t seem to get his way with the sows, who emphatically stick up for themselves with a lot of outraged vocalisations.
In this iPad drawing from a photograph, I’ve limited my colours to three mid-tones, finishing off with a darker shadow version and an off-white tone for highlights.
My pen and watercolour wash drawing is just a couple of inches across. I soon realised that I should have had a better light on such a dark subject. When I bought the camera, I could have chosen the model in silver but, on the rare occasions when I’m photographing a subject behind glass, the black doesn’t show up in reflection.
How is it that sheep, as soon as you stop to photograph them stop behaving naturally and give you that ‘what are you doing?’ look before bounding away.
This is obviously one of this year’s lambs and its tail hasn’t been docked.
iPad drawing from a photograph.
Common inkcap at Newmillerdam. This one had been knocked over, revealing that its gills were turning to ink. Drawn on my iPad from a photograph taken with my Olympus Tough.
Well, one French yogurt pot of pens and two treacle/syrup tins plus an olive and a baking powder tin of them.
A few years ago, I couldn’t walk past a stationer’s or an art store without going in to see if they had an interesting pen for me to try. Today I’m happy with my TWSBI Eco T fountain pen so I stick with that, which probably is Eco-friendly, as – locally for us – all those single-use pens can’t go in the regular recycling and apparently end up in an incinerator, although Douglas Adams put forward the theory that missing ballpoint pens slip through a wormhole into an alternative dimension.
As usual, I’m using Noodler’s waterproof ink and Winsor & Newton watercolours.
Printing booklets has been a cottage industry for me for the last twenty years. It took me all day to print a hundred copies of various walks and local guides, so it’s very labour intensive, however it’s satisfying to turn sheets of laser paper and card into A5- and A4-size booklets.
Surprisingly, there were no serious hiccups, other than the printer running out of paper and on one occasion running out of toner.
The September Dalesman magazine just dropped through the door and I’m delighted with how my Wild Yorkshire nature diary has turned out this month. The drawings have a bit more room to breathe than usual and the daisies and germander speedwells, photographed in Thornes Park this summer, give a suitably relaxed frame for my Pink Pig A5 sketchbook.
As usual the lettering and drawings were dropped in later, as it would be so difficult to get the exposure just right for each element.
Sketchbook v. Notebook
I’ve been using the sketchbook format in my articles for a year now but starting in the new year, we’re going to try something different as it so difficult to tell a story in the few paragraphs of hand-written text that can be comfortably fitted in amongst my drawings.
I’m hoping that I can still keep some of the quirkiness of the visual joke of popping a sketchbook down on the turf or on the beach, so perhaps I’ll go back to my regular text and illustrations for the diary but incorporate some element like a real feather or fossil resting on the page or a ladybird crawling across it.
A Curious Cat
September’s issue of the Dalesman is, as usual, full of all things Yorkshire: the Wakefield’s Mystery Plays, Leeds Library (wish I lived nearer, I’d join), the dolls houses of Newby Hall and bird of prey conservation.
And yes, also as usual, my sketches are upstaged by watercolours and oils from Yorkshire’s artistic talent –John Harrison’s Healaugh and Chris Geall’s Mallyan Spout – but my favourite image in this issue is Stephen Garnett’s double-page spread photograph of a back alley in Robin Hood’s Bay village.
How did he manage to find that comically curious cat which so perfectly matches the sun-dappled stone of the cobbles and cottages?
John Harrison: Drawn in Yorkshire
I realised that I stood a chance of photographing this male common darter, Sympetrum striolatum, because, as its name suggests, its hunting technique was to keep darting out from the corner of the herb bed then returning to sit in the same spot, soaking up the sun on the stonework.
Thinking that it would be too restless for me to get close to it, I went for my 40-150 mm zoom lens but, when it went on to settle by the pond, I could have got close enough to use the macro. The zoom couldn’t focus any closer than a couple of feet.
When I cleared duckweed from the pond in the early summer, I came across perhaps a dozen dragonfly larvae which were about the right size to become darter dragonflies, each of which I coaxed back into the pond.
The highlight on its compound eye is hexagonal, as are the individual lenses that make it up.
It has yellow stripes running along the length of its black legs.